05/16/2012 04:26 EDT | Updated 07/16/2012 05:12 EDT

Proposed law would give Manitoba municipalities more power over cycling

WINNIPEG - Manitoba cyclists may soon have their own lanes on urban roads — ones that don't require them to share space with buses.

The NDP government tabled a bill Wednesday that would give municipalities more power to regulate bicycle traffic, including the right to designate full lanes of road as bicycle-only.

Under the current Highway Traffic Act, bike lanes are also bus lanes.

"We want people to be more active, we want people to participate in using bicycles, going to work on bicycles," Local Government Minister Ron Lemieux said.

"(Municipalities) will be able to govern traffic and make sure that traffic is a lot safer within their municipal boundaries."

More people are commuting on bicycle, Lemieux said, and having their own lanes will make people feel safer.

The new municipal powers will not extend to imposing new penalties for bad cycling behaviour.

Towns and cities will not be able to go beyond the Highway Traffic Act, which already contains fines for cycling on sidewalks and other infractions.

"My understanding is the Highway Traffic Act is supreme," Lemieux said.